Monday, January 14, 2013

El Paso Eats

This weekend we went down to El Paso to visit my parents. They lived in East Texas for almost thirty years, until last summer when my dad was offered a job in El Paso. We were so excited for them to move nearby! To some of you, having your parents 3 1/2 hours away seems far, but to me, it's the closest I have lived to them since graduating from high school!

Many people seem to give El Paso a bad rap. They think it's just some dirty border town out in the middle of nowhere. And I must admit, I was among these people until I actually visited the city for the first time while in college. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it is a beautiful, unique, international city. The Franklin Mountains and desert landscape set it apart from almost any other city in Texas, and the influence of the cultures of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico give it character unlike any other place. It's also a much bigger city than most people assume. The population of El Paso is 665,000, and it's neighboring city of Juarez, Mexico has over 1 million residents. So El Paso has a much more urban feel than you might imagine.

One thing my parents love about El Paso and I enjoy while visiting, is the seemingly endless number of great restaurants. And not just Mexican food. On Saturday night, my parents watched Jack for us, so Josh and I went to dinner at Cafe Italia. It's a great little neighborhood brick oven pizzeria. We ordered the Smoked Pizza which had bell peppers, Italian sausage, and smoked mozzarella (I did not take any pictures, sorry). It was plenty for both of us, we finished it and were full afterward. If you have more of an appetite, I have heard their salads are good as well. And at $15, it was a great deal! They do not serve alcohol, but are BYOB with a $5 bottle charge. If we would have known this ahead of time, we definitely would have brought our own bottle. The service was fast and friendly, and although the decor was nothing to write home about, the atmosphere was nice as it was full of happy diners.

On Sunday we were planning on going to brunch at Crave, which is one of my parents' favorite restaurants, but the wait was 20 minutes, and with a toddler in tow, we did not want to wait. So we headed to Basico Bistro, which is a newer place near my parents' house. The atmosphere is modern, bright, and hip. The large windows not only let in plenty of southwestern sun but also provide beautiful views (as you can see in the picture above of Jack, my mom, and me).

Before our meal they brought out lovely homemade biscuits. They had a nice, sweet flavor. For brunch I had the Basico Benedict. It was a nice, classic Eggs Benedict. My mom had the same. We both enjoyed it. My dad and brother ordered the omelet of the day which was green chile and cheese and both liked it. Josh had the smoked salmon omelet and enjoyed it as well.

The brunch at Basico was very good, the service was great and the atmosphere was wonderful. I look forward to trying it for lunch and dinner in the near future as well.

 Básico Bistro+Café on Urbanspoon

Cafe Italia on Urbanspoon

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